It is less than 10 days until Halloween and many have been planning their Halloween costumes for months. They have been buying patterns, sewing, planning, and all in all working their butts off to get their costumes perfect for the festivities. These are the folks who are prepared for any occasion and can even come up with a passable costume with little to no notice.
This interview is for those who just looked at the calendar, or will in a few days. Michelle Eubank Mussoni is an award winning costumer/cosplayer who has participated as both contestant and judge in costume competitions. She has competed in various level events at Anime, Sci Fi and others such as Gen Con and recently took international level awards at the World Science Fiction Convention.
John Collins (JC): For those who just realized that Halloween celebrations will be starting this weekend, is there hope of putting together a good costume or should they just go buy one off the shelf.
Michelle Eubank Mussoni (MEM): Sure! You can always piece things together from your closet. If you are a packrat, like myself, you can go with an easy 80s, punk rock, or basic goth look. Or you can wear your street clothes, slather glitter on yourself and go as a vampire from the Twilight series. With a short time frame though, if you have the extra funds to put towards short cuts for a decent costume, one can be pulled off! I actually had to do a last minute idea change on my costume this year, which is involving me starting from scratch. Sewing-wise, it’s not as much work as my original idea, but it will be mostly makeup and special fx appliances that I make at home, which typically only take me a few days. With makeup, anything is possible! But if you have the crafting skills, and definitely the cash for materials, just make a few hours a day/night to work on the costume. It doesn’t have to be perfect, Halloween is fun! Also, if you act a little bit like the character your dressing as, it also adds a lot to the overall effect!
If you’re going for perfection this late in the game, however, definitely look to get something off the shelf. Either at your local costume shop, or you can hit up Goodwill and get some cheap clothes, tear some holes in them and with some makeup you can always go as a zombie! I hear those are the in thing now….
(JC): Where would one start to put something together?
(MEM): Well, first you would need an idea. I’ve decided I wanted to go scary this year, and was thinking of the movie Alien, the scene where the alien bursts from the abdomen. And told myself I want THAT! My mind changed, and was set (I have no choice now) as of 1 week ago.
Use your resources! Friends can be an awesome thing, and a huge help! I love my friends, and working together with friends on a project or projects can be so much fun and rewarding! So this year, I took a couple of short cuts with the help of some friends. A friend of mine is an amazing sculptor and is sculpting the baby alien head for me, which I will make a mold of and cast out of rigid foam (yes, I just happen to have molding and casting stuff at my house, it’s become a staple). I can whip together a flight suit/spandex suit with no problem, and with some liquid latex, silicone rubber, paints and fake blood, I have my belly prosthesis that will be attached to my flight suit to make it look as if I just had an alien burst from my mid-section. If it weren’t for drying time, the project would have been done in time to wear to my office on the Friday of Halloween for dress up day, but alas, I had to come up with an alternate idea for that.
Definitely take into consideration, your budget, skill level, and if you have a full time job like I do, and a smart phone, do internet searches on our phone on your lunch breaks for tutorials. They have tutorials for EVERYTHING now it seems, and a lot of them with video! Those can definitely help you when you get home on your game plan.
Never be afraid to think outside the box, who knows…maybe you’ll create a newer and better technique based on what you just learned online! Also, think about using things that you already have at your house. Some easy materials that are easy to work with, and are pretty flexible as far as uses go are cardboard, aluminum foil, saran wrap, straws, bottles and bottle caps. With some hot glue, and spray paint, you’ll be surprised with what you can come up with!
(JC): Is this going to cost an arm and a leg? Are there affordable options?
(MEM): Possibly, there’s a rule to costuming that involves 3 basic categories. Quick, Cheap, and Quality. You can have 2 of the 3, but not all 3, if you sacrifice one, you could miss out on the other, you can go quick and cheap, but it might not look as good if you actually spent time working with low cost materials, you can also go quick and with great quality, but it definitely won’t be cheap! Take those into considerations as well when coming up with your to do list. And don’t beat yourself up for having to sacrifice one aspect over the other.
Also make use of coupons! Joann’s and Michaels are known for having amazing coupon deals all the time, from 20% off an entire purchase, to 50-60% off a single item, which could also be a single cut of fabric measuring out to several yards! Just hop on the web site, sign up, and you’ll get the coupons in your email. There are even phone apps with the coupons, if you’re like me and forget to print them out, I never forget my phone, so I now never forget my coupons!
If you’re good at masking imperfections, go for quick and cheap! Just don’t go around telling people what you’re not happy about with your costume, and draw attention to the pieces your proud of! Unless you’re a cosplayer, or avid convention goer, chances are you’ll be wearing this for just a night, maybe 2. You just put your blood sweat and tears into this costume, enjoy it!
(JC): what do you recommend in the way of make-up?
(MEM): Makeup, well, depends on what you’re going for. My personal favorites are water based makeups like the Paradise line from Mehron, or Wolfe Fx. They’re easy to apply, look great, and come in SO many colors. They also won’t rub off as easily as the cream based makeups that you see everywhere around Halloween time. Another plus is that even though those types of makeup don’t rub off as easily as the cream based, they’re surprisingly easier to clean off your body than the cream based makeup, just soap and water, and it’s done.
There are times when I do use the cream based makeups, depending on what kind of effect I need, and they’re easier to tote around for touch ups in the middle of the night. Just make sure that if you’re using cream based makeups, to use a setting powder so it won’t sweat off. Also a makeup setting spray for either water or cream based makeup will help your makeup last longer. Don’t be afraid to blend colors either. If you can’t find what you want, blending different colors, as long as it’s the same base type of makeup, can help you get the perfect colors for your costume.
(JC): What can we do to stir our creativity?
(MEM): Think about your favorite movies, or video games. Or if you’re feeling nostalgic, maybe your favorite cartoon character as a child. If you like food, you can go as food! A friend of mine from high school, every year her and her family make the cutest family themed costumes that are home made. This year, they’re going as S’mores. So with some felt, poster board, markers/paints, and straps, one of them is a chocolate bar, the other a graham cracker, and the wee one is a marshmallow.
You don’t ‘have’ to be a person or an animal, why not inanimate objects? Look at things on your desk, or around your home, and think about how funny or cute it would be with arms and legs, and work with it. Halloween is only once a year, even though I play dress up all year round, I still get excited about Halloween! Why, because I’m definitely not the only one dressing up! That, and it’s fun. Don’t worry about perfection, if someone can identify who or what you are from 10 feet away, you did your job, and you did it well! Now get to your local craft store, make sure you have your coupons, shopping list and game plan ready and have fun.
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